Many of us typically think of success as getting that career job, making millions of dollars, or chasing after your dream/ calling in life. Some of us view success as being happy and content with life, despite how rich or poor we may be.
All these things are profitable, however what does the scripture say about success?
Definitions (via google):
- the accomplishment of an aim or purpose
- a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity
Well first of all let’s take a look at the first definition. “The accomplishment of an aim or a purpose”
This brings us to our first question.
What is our common aim and purpose as believers of Christ?
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God , and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love….11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”
1 John 4:7-8;11
Based on these scriptures a few things may be identified in terms of our purpose. We must:
- Offer our lives onto God as a living Sacrifice (Romans 12:1-21 instructs us on how to do so)
- Spread the word of God and make disciples throughout the nations (Matthew 28:19-20)
- Love one another because God first loved us (1 John 4:7-8 &10-11)
Therefore we can agree that the accomplishment of these 3 statements above may be seen as success to a certain extent from a biblical perspective
What about success in “worldly” things?
School, work, relationships?
Surely God wants the best for us, not only in heaven but also on earth. Right?
I think one of the biggest mistakes we make as Christians is separating our “secular lives” from our “Christian lifestyle”.
School gets its own category, work gets its own category, relationships gets its own category, and God gets its own category.
The problem with this mindset is that we leave so much room to idolize one category over another. Specifically we leave so much room to idolize everything over God
In doing so, we constantly dishonour God by breaking the 2nd commandment:
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”
We don’t have to create a physical temple and bow down to a carved idol before we commit idolatry. Idolatry is the simple act of putting anything before God, whether it be mental, physical or spiritual.
It’s kind of like a “silent but deadly” type of sin. Because we often don’t know when we do it.
Today you might set your mind on trying to get that A+ in Calculus, then a couple weeks later pursue that career job you’ve been dreaming about for years. Lastly you may pursue spending quality time doing “Godly” things like going to church, praying, reading the bible, evangelizing etc.
Here’s the reality, God is not interested in becoming a part of our daily routine.
He wants to dominate and rule over every single part of our lives.
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God & money”
That being said, we have to view all of these “wordly things” from a Biblical perspective.
God lets us know that there is a right way and a wrong way in pursuing education, career, relationships, and anything else that has to do with life on earth. In order to understand the right aim/ purpose of all of these things, we must read the word of God. Then the accomplishment of these things (from a Biblical perspective) will be viewed successful, because we glorify God in submitting to his authority.
By doing this, we demonstrate 2 things:
1 – Our dedication to God, trusting that he knows what’s best for us
2 – Our identity is rested in God rather than the success or failure of these “activities”, therefore we always have a reason to rejoice
There are 66 books in the Bible. It was written so that we may learn to honour God in every single aspect of our daily lives.
And when we do make mistakes, God has given us power, through Jesus Christ, to be forgiven of our idolatry and grow in repentance to be submissive onto his word.
Paul wasn’t joking when he said “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Its time to get out of our comfort zones and make God a practical reality in our lives.
Soli Deo Gloria